Four years ago Sam Duckworth hung up the Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly moniker, seemingly for good. Yet in four years we’ve also managed to hold several general elections and decided to leave Europe. Given Duckworth’s sound has often been a political affair, it stands to reason then that he might rewrite the rulebook a bit where retirement is involved.
Despite his often wry political leanings, tonight’s sound brings a carnival vibe; a fusion of drums, keys, and guitars mixed in with the trumpet sound so synonymous with the band that it wouldn’t be a Get Cape show without it. It’s this which means the Monday night crowd who seem to be stuck to the back of the room as if there’s some kind of force field around the stage, are quickly engaged in the proceedings and encouraged to step forward. It’s not long before they’re moved from observers to participants, encouraged to sing along to I-Spy with large amounts of gusto.
It’s this paradox between a carnival sound and lyrics which take an almost microscopic look at the world which has always been the power of Duckworth’s work, and his ability to move from more softly voiced numbers to choruses filled with passion. Tonight delivers both in equal measures. Add into the mix a perfect balance of older songs which punctuate the new ones with a degree of precision so as not to lose the attention of the crowd, and you have the ingredients for a faultless performance.
Perhaps what’s most striking however is the amount of fun that Duckworth and his comrades are clearly having throughout the set. Though there’s no doubt the arrangements are highly practised and skilled, there’s a degree of recklessness and playfulness which carries through the night. It’s this that acts as the perfect antidote to a grey October Monday, and allows me to forget the state of political unrest for just a short while.